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Possible Challengers Critique Hillary Clinton From The Sidelines

By Ali Elkin, Bloomberg News (TNS)

They’re not in it to win it themselves — not yet, at least — but possible Democratic primary challengers to Hillary Clinton had plenty to say on Sunday about the newly announced presidential candidate.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley led the call for a competitive contest for the party’s nomination.

“I think it would be an extreme poverty indeed if there weren’t more than one person willing to compete for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party,” O’Malley said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” according to a transcript from the network. He’ll decide whether to run by the end of May, he said, and would make a better president than Clinton “because of the experience that I can bring to this job.”

Former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, who formed an exploratory committee in November, jabbed at Clinton’s fundraising power, carefully constructed image and lengthy public career.

“We’re never going to have this financial leviathan machine that’s going to pull in $2.5 billion, as some people do. I’m never going to have a political consultant at my side, whispering what I should say or how I should dress or whether I ought to go to Wal-Mart or not,” Webb said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But what we do have is long experience on the issues in and out of government, strong beliefs about where the country needs to go, and I think the kind of leadership where we can govern.”

“I think we’ve got a lot of incumbent fatigue in the country and I think people are looking for fresh approaches in terms of how to solve the problems of the country,” Webb also said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, said he was skeptical of candidates’ willingness in either party to take on the so-called billionaire class.

“I think that is the that we have to wage if we are going to save the middle class and I do have doubts about whether Hillary Clinton or whether any Republican candidate out there is prepared to take on the big money interests who control so much of our economy and, as a result of Citizens United, our political process, as well,” Sanders said on “Fox News Sunday.” He will decide whether to run in “the near future,” he said.

(c)2015 Bloomberg News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Photo: Gregory Hauenstein via Flickr

Republicans, Democrats Split On Brian Williams’ Fate, Poll Finds

By Ali Elkin, Bloomberg News (TNS)

By a small margin, American voters say Brian Williams should be allowed to return to hosting NBC Nightly News, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

Forty-two percent support Williams’ return to the anchor chair while 35 percent do not. NBC suspended the host for six months in February after he was found to have exaggerated war stories.

Republicans and Democrats are split on Williams’ fate. Republicans oppose his return 42 percent to 33 percent, while Democrats support it 52 percent to 28 percent.

The poll shows that challenges to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s reporting have made less of an impact. (The network has dismissed questions, saying it stands by O’Reilly.) Fifty-one percent said they hadn’t heard enough about the issue to form an opinion, 23 percent said he should stay on air, 11 percent said he should be suspended, and 12 percent said he should be fired.

There was again a partisan divide. Twenty-one percent of Democrats supported O’Reilly’s firing compared to 4 percent of Republicans. Eighteen percent of Democrats supported his suspension compared to 8 percent of Republicans. And 11 percent of Democrats said he should stay on air, compared to 30 percent of Republicans.

The poll also surveyed American voters’ opinions on news networks’ trustworthiness.In a head-to-head matchup, Fox got the highest marks with 29 percent, followed by CNN with 22 percent, NBC and CBS tied at 10 percent, ABC at 8 percent, and MSNBC at 7 percent.

Moving over to late-night comedy, Tina Fey was the top choice to replace Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show out of six possible successors named in the poll, with 19 percent. The second choice was another Saturday Night Live Weekend Update alumnus, Dennis Miller, with 16 percent. Williams tied for fourth place with 7 percent.

The poll reached 1,286 registered voters by phone from Feb. 26-March 2. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Photo: notemily via Flickr

Giuliani: Obama Doesn’t Love America

By Ali Elkin, Bloomberg News (TNS)

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker reportedly launched a tag-team attack on President Barack Obama and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a dinner in New York on Wednesday.

Speaking to about 60 people at the event, Giuliani questioned Obama’s love of country, according to Politico.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said, according to Politico. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

On Fox and Friends on Thursday, Giuliani tried to clarify, saying, “He’s a patriot, I’m sure.”

“What I’m saying is, in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things that I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America.”

After the event Wednesday, Giuliani also criticized the president’s reference to the Crusades during the recent National Prayer Breakfast and his refusal to associate terrorism with Islam.

“I thought the Crown Heights riots were a pogrom because you’re going out trying to kill Jews,” Giuliani said, according to Politico. “Why is this man incapable of saying that? You’ve got to be able to criticize Islam for the parts of Islam that are wrong. You criticize Christianity for the part of Christianity that is wrong. …What’s wrong with this man that he can’t stand up and say there’s a part of Islam that’s sick?”

Walker, a Republican who may mount a White House bid in 2016, reportedly criticized Romney’s campaign, saying he never made clear why he was the “better alternative.”

“The big thing I thought Mitt Romney’s campaign missed more than anything was we already knew the narrative that the economy was failing, and that there was a compelling case to get rid of the president,” Walker said, according to the New York Daily News.

Walker said Romney also erred in repeatedly citing the economy’s woes in states like his own, where Republican governors were in charge.”We said ‘No, the better argument in Republican-led states was to say, ‘Look how much better it got–imagine how much better it would be if you put a Republican in charge of the federal government. You could get the same thing happening there,'” Walker said, according to the newspaper.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr